Nashville, TN – The 25th-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores and the conference affair from Memorial Gym in Nashville.
Indiana State has managed to win seven of its nine games thus far, and an 11- point decision over Texas Tech of the Big 12 Conference represents the Sycamores' most notable victory to date. They have been idle since last Saturday's 68-57 triumph over Maryville, and this affair obviously presents a much stiffer challenge. Indiana State has yet to begin Missouri Valley Conference play.
As for Vanderbilt, a member of the loaded SEC, it hasn't played since December 7, so it will be interesting to see if the squad appears rested or rusty today. The Commodores suffered back-to-back overtime losses to Xavier and Louisville, but that brief two-game slide was halted in the most recent outing, an 87-83 decision over Davidson. Vandy hasn't been nearly as dominant as expected thus far, and it seems that the team is fortunate to hold a spot in the Top-25 considering its 6-3 record.
The Sycamores and Commodores have split their only two previous meetings, the most recent of which took place during the 1984-85 campaign.
It is obvious that the Sycamores lack the type of player capable of dominating a game at the offensive end. Dwayne Lathan is scoring 11.8 ppg on 50 percent shooting from the floor, while Carl Richard (10.4 ppg) is the only other double-digit scorer on the roster. Indiana State is mediocre at best at the offensive end of the court, generating 66.4 ppg on 43.8 percent field goal efficiency. Fortunately, the club limits opponents to 62.1 ppg, the key to the early season success. In the 11-point win over Maryville one week ago, Myles Walker paced the Sycamores with 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the floor from his center position. Lathan added 13 points off the bench, while Jake Odum contributed 10 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals. ISU forced 19 turnovers in that affair while committing just nine of its own.
Vanderbilt has a pair of dynamic scorers in Jeffery Taylor and John Jenkins, and both were highly productive against Davidson in the narrow win last time out. Taylor exploded for 30 points on 12-of-17 shooting from the field, while Jenkins finished that game with 22 points. The team welcomed standout frontcourt performer Festus Ezeli, who hadn't played yet this season because of injury. Ezeli scored 15 points in a reserve role, a great sign for Vandy fans. Jenkins is posting 21.3 ppg this season on the strength of his 43.1 percent accuracy from three-point range, and Taylor checks in with 16.6 ppg on 50.9 percent field goal efficiency. Lance Goulboure and Brad Tinsley are netting 10.1 ppg apiece for the Commodores, who are generating 75.3 ppg while allowing 71.6 ppg to foes.